Wild and Wandering Thoughts of a frizz-laden loon

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I am me.

So, there is an hour and a half left in 2008.

Firstly, I have to say that I'm deeply freaked out that it's the end of the year. It's a complete cliché, but it's gone ridiculously fast. At the end of 2007, 2008 was suddenly gearing up towards the end of the decade; 2007 had been the year; so much had happened, so much had changed, that it seemed impossible that it could be 2008. I was looking forward to Torchwood, was settling into the Sixth Form, and now, BANG! Here I am on December 31st 2008, thinking about the year that's just gone past, and rather than being philosophical and deep about all my experiences, all I can do is scratch my head and think, wow. That was a whole YEAR?

It's been an immensely packed year. I've been more excited than I've ever been before, I've forged friendships that'll remain for years; I can already tell. I've learnt more in school than I ever thought I could before the Sixth Form; things that have helped me find my own way through my education rather than relying on teachers every step of the way. And not only that; what I'm learning and assimilating within my subjects (particularly Politics) is helping me form and shape my own views, my own viewpoint and opinions of issues. I care, more than I ever have.

I've done things that would seem trivial to others, but to me were incredibly important, and have never given me such a rush. Seeing John Barrowman in April with Tara; stupid as it may sound, I've never felt such an adrenaline rush; just being part of that experience, being lost in the crowd, was unbelievably fun.

Pride. Oh, Pride. After last year; the first time I went (when I heard it was a London march, Freema Agyeman and John Barrowman would be there, and Doctor Who would be shown on a big screen), I had such an amazing day, that I never thought anything could top it. How wrong I was! July 4th is going to stick in my mind for years to come; marching through the streets of London, through cheering crowds, blowing a whistle and walking alongside Ian McKellen, feeling part of a movement that truly means something, shouting loud for the whole world to hear, is an experience I'll never, ever forget. It's my heaven; I'd happily do it every day. I'm quite a singular person; I like my own company, and I've never felt compelled to surround myself with people when an evening in on my own would be enough. But, despite that, I seem to do well in crowds; being part of such as large movement of people, all of whom are striving for what you're striving for; everyone celebrating what you're celebrating, is the biggest rush I've ever received.

And of course, China. China had its ups and downs, but I couldn't be more glad that I took the opportunity to go. I'll never experience anything like it again; to be thrown into such a new environment was absolutely bloody terrifying, but it's something everyone should try. Simply by walking down a Chinese street I was incredibly awed that I was so far away from home, and felt so lucky that I had the chance to see the country. The sheer size of it messed with my head; one evening, a few of us congregated in the flat of a friend's Chinese partner, on the twenty-ninth floor looking out over the entire city. I was left breathless by the view, and even more so by the fact that this was one city, in one province, in one country. My perspective was shaken up, and by being in such a new place and doing so many new things (and, making so many new friends), I was able to understand and clarify my own view on my British identity, as well as experiencing a new kind of culture.

We were placed in hotel rooms on the fifth floor, with no lift. Everything was appallingly organised. The food was suspect. I had no end of problems with the language. Often, enough was enough. And you know what? I would do it all again in an instant, without hesitation. It'll be some time before I travel to somewhere truly beyond my life in England, and I'm so glad I managed it now.

There's been highs and lows this year. Plans have been shaken up; my exam results weren't what I'd hoped for, and my work ethic is still in need of a revamp. Still, I have to make sure I don't forget how lucky I am to exist within such a brilliant educational system, and to have the opportunities that so many people don't have. I volunteered for this, after all, and I don't regret it in the least.

So, 2009. Big, BIG year. Massive year. From the small (off to see John Barrowman again!) to the big (interrailing!), to the absolutely fucking huge (leaving home!), it's going to be tough, and it's going to be nerve-wracking.

But it's going to be the most exciting year. I'm taking steps towards my own future, I'm branching off from what I'm used to. It's terrifying, yes, but I'm far from dreading it. I feel like I've forged a more concrete identity for myself, my views and my likes and dislikes and opinions, over this last year; and it's that identity and perspective which will help me through all the tricky transitions in 2009, and make my experiences memorable, singular to me.

My name is Ros. I'm seventeen years old, I snack on cucumber, I can be ruthlessly sceptical and cynical, when I get nervous I chew on my nails and swear like a trooper, and I refuse to let arguments be.

2009, I'm ready for you.

Bring it on.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Delight the future; create happy outcomes.

Screw a message from the Queen, my new obsession Ben Okri says it all about the beauty of Winter;

And while Autumn dallies
With the West wind and the weeping nightingales,
And while Winter clears its sonorous throat
At the Antipodean banquets
Preparing for a speech of hoarfrost
And icicles conjured from living breath;
I want you to tell everyone,
Through trumpets played with the fragrance of roses,
That a mysterious reason has brought us all together.
Under the all-seeing eye of the sun.

Extract is from Ben Okri's poem Lines in Potensis; there's a reading of it on youtube if you look for "Ben Okri".

Anyway, merry Christmas! Have a lovely day and have lots of fun. I'm currently struggling to get a poem finished and wrap up some presents; my brother is making slightly sub-par cocktails for my parents using whatever he can find around the house, and me and my Dad just finished watching Toy Story 2, a film that's very close to both of our hearts, for various reasons.

Happy Christmas! Talk to you soon.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008



Right; I was in the library earlier, checking the UCAS website (as I tend to obsessively do), not really expecting anything new, when BAM! I have a conditional offer from Cardiff. Cue flailing and joy on my part, which slighty diminishes when I find out they appeared to have offered me a place for a different course than what I applied for. Hmm. I told myself I would wait for the letter to come, and if it offered no explanation, then contact them and try and change it.

Anyway, I got home and had another look at the site, just to clarify the offer, then left it on screen whilst I watched Survivors on BBC iplayer. My Mum came home about fifteen minutes ago and asked to have a look at the offer; I tried to get back to the page but I'd been logged out automatically.

I refresh, log in, and lo and behold...another offer. From Warwick.


I am currently leaping around with excitement; I spend nearly all of yesterday evening complaining about being left in the loop, and I get two in one day!

Happy, happy, happy!



Tuesday, December 16, 2008



I am such a hypocrite; how can it have been over a month? It's gone by incredibly quickly.

...actually, having said that, I've been waiting so impatiently for more offers that that Lancaster one seems like a lifetime ago. I've had no more since then and I'm really starting to get antsy, despite the fact I can't do anything to speed the process along; the Universities I've applied to for the course I want to do seem to all be very crowded, or slow at replying. It's also doubly difficult when you're surrounded by friends who applied to Oxford or Cambridge and seem to be steaming through; it's not their fault in the slightest, but Oxbridge is placed on such a high pedestal that you feel left out when others benefit from it. I haven't applied to either; it wouldn't suit me and I had no particular desire to go; it would be nice to know a little more about my academic future, regardless.

Anyway, little has happened since then. Jesus Christ Superstar was done at school for nearly a week; I was on the tech crew and had a huge amount of fun, although Jesus' crucifixion made me cry at least three times. I was at a vantage point where I could see the entire stage, head-on, and the impact of the scene and the lighting was incredible. Plus, Dave, the guy who played Jesus, was spectacular. I was in awe of him for most of the week. Everybody is completely in love with him; he's the nicest guy in the world and incredibly modest. Lovely singing voice, too.

It seems like an age since I was tapping away about Mary Poppins. And it IS; I looked over some old entries just before I started typing this one, and startling immaturity and lack of perspective and consideration for others aside, it seems complete incomprehensible now that I ever did what I did back then; I was annoyed about Ben in History lessons, I gushed insanely over Brokeback Mountain, I actually studied Maths, for God's sake. And that was three or so years ago, just three years. Even now I'm still suffering from a lack of perspective. Three years is nothing; one day in twenty or so years I'll look back on now and wonder how the hell "all that" was a chore. God only knows whether I'll look back with fondness or regret, or both. Where will I be? Married, children? A career, or just a job to make ends meet?

It's all a huge mystery. Only seventeen (nearly eighteen) years, and it feels like an age. Perhaps that's because of the changing qualities of it; I've grown up, and done so many different things, and matured so much through those years, that time holds this special, mysterious quality because I'm viewing it through what's changed in my life, year-to-year. Seventeen years will be nothing, when I'm older. My Mum and Dad remember seventeen years ago as if it was yesterday.

I'm at the stage I always wondered about when I was a kid, or just at the start of secondary school; I am "grown-up", on the verge of leaving school, not wholly independent but have a significant amount of freedom. I've forged an identity for myself as a young adult through what I believe (politically and...socially?), what I read, what I listen to, who I am, rather than being a little girl who follows the crowd more often than not. I listen to jazz, I've marched with Ian McKellen through the streets of London, I'm ruthlessly sceptical and I snack on cucumber. I am my own unique self, now, yet I feel I haven't changed a bit. I feel like a fraud, sometimes; tapping through Politics essays, or having running jokes with well-loved teachers, or talking about social gradualism and paradoxes between authoritarianism and libertarianism; I feel as if I'm about to get found out. It's an odd feeling, and I keep wondering whether it'll last.

Next year is the big one. I say that every time, but this one really is! Here's a lowdown:

- Re-taking German AS oral.
- Modules for A2 exams.
- Receive module results sometime in March.
- My eighteenth birthday.
- My brother's twentieth birthday.
- The school leaver's Ball.
- Official "last" day of school before exams.
- German AS retakes in June, the rest of my A2s, and a Chinese GCSE.
- Off inter-railing for three weeks across Europe.
- Exam results.
- Off I go to university.
- The adventure begins....

Exams aren't important in the grand scheme of things, but they're so imminent and so numerous they're all I can think about at the moment. I'm seeing John Barrowman again, as well, at the end of May. Hurrah!

It's going to be a tough, fascinating year. I'm drinking in everything I can when I'm at school; despite so much to do in the next few months, there's an acute sensation of "lastness"; everything we do is "last"; this is the last Christmas we'll have at school, and there'll be plenty of lasts next year. It's all hotting up, and I'm incredibly nervous, but excited as well. This is what it's all about!

I'd better go; it's nearly eleven and I've got a book to finish. I'm also re-reading The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, on the sly. Whilst idealistic, I do love it; it's very accesible, and despite being written by a man who had so much power even then, it's written in a casual and friendly way that can't help but charm. Barack Obama all over, eh?

Rosby out. I'll try not to leave for so long next time.

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